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Career advancement in remote community schools

Working as a teacher in a remote community can present many personal and professional opportunities and benefits. One of which can we career progression. To maximise your success during your time remote- whatever ‘success’ looks like for you- it is important to think about your goals and the steps you will need to take to achieve them.

We have a free Mindset and Goalsetting course to help you determine what these might be- see here.

Set aside time now- whether that is before, at the beginning or anytime during your remote teaching contract because the best time is always now. Make time to think about your career goals in the long term.

Knowing what you want to achieve will help you take the opportunities or seek the opportunities that exist while you work remote.

These are the important considerations and questions to ask yourself:

  • What are your career goals?
  • How can you use your time remote to achieve them?
  • Why is balance important?
  • Never lose sight of our clients as center

Some career goals you might consider:

  • Corporate/Head Office
  • Principal or principal consultant
  • Administration team
  • Head of Learning or Curriculum Leader
  • Sidestep to a role such as university lecturer, TAFE lecturer, university student mentor or graduate mentor, librarian, education department in a museum/zoo/aquarium/wildlife sanctuary/private business such as Twinkl, politician, public speaker
  • Run your own business such as professional development, running incursions, holiday programs such as Bush School, after school programs like art classes, writing a book to become an author  
  • Level 3, Lead or Senior Teacher
  • Upskill as a classroom teacher such as Graduate Certificate/Diploma/Masters/Doctorate
  • Retrain to teach in an additional area such as ESLD, TESOL, Special Education, Aboriginal Education. Or retrain in an area of high need such as Mathematics, Science or another area identified by the Department of Education (sometimes these are subsidised).
  • Gain additional skills such as behaviour management specialist, trauma informed teacher, supporting students with additional needs, wellbeing specialist.

Using your time remote wisely

Most teachers who move to remote communities have signed a contract for a specific amount of time- in WA for example this is often 3 years. In WA teachers must apply for extensions beyond that amount of time.

Lots can change in your personal circumstances in 3 years.

Time might feel slow but it will go fast.

One second you are just trying to survive treading water, the next you are feeling more confident, you blink and your time remote is finished.

By taking the time to plan what opportunities you might seek or take, you are allowing yourself to be active in improving your career- and hopefully the outcomes of your core priority: the students.  

Opportunities might include:

  • Acting in a higher role
  • Joining committees
  • Putting your name forward or being selected for additional professional development opportunities
  • Running additional things that align to your career goals- such as
  • Seeking additional professional development that aligns with the school priorities and business plans
  • Running initiatives in your school
  • Learning a new language- learn the traditional First Nations language of your area, Kriole or Aboriginal English or AUSLAN if you have a Deaf student.
  • Learn a new skill to support a student- for example learn how to support
  • Upskilling and being an in school trainer for specialised programs such as Team Teach, Kagan, CMS, Trauma Informed Teaching for example.

Finding balance

Often teachers in remote communities feel like they never have time. They are working really hard to differentiate for very different ability groups and for students with varying attendance levels, dealing with or following up behaviour or social issues during your planning periods, doing extra-curricular support in your ‘frees’ or after school, taking relief lessons (often there aren’t easy to call on relief teachers just hanging around remote communities!), testing or assessing students one-on-one in their planning periods, then add in some home visits or phone calls plus a few meetings- overwhelm! So your time might feel like your planning/frees/DOTT times just get eaten up and you might be planning, marking and catching up in your personal time before or after school. The hours can feel long in your early days remote.

So making time to take advantage of career progression opportunities and finding balance with your teaching role can feel really challenging especially in your early years in your remote role.

Remember that there is a fine line between personal wellbeing and taking on extra for professional development and career advancement. Remember to find balance with giving energy to learn an new skill for career advancement and having enough energy to do the best job you can for your students in your class.

Planning to advance your career doesn’t have to all happen at once. It is an accumulative result of the small actions and opportunities that you have taken on over the course of your time remote.

Students are central focus

The most important thing to remember when working remote is our core focus- our students. We are employed to do a job- educate our students. So while it is really important to have our personal and professional goals we must make sure we keep the education of our students at the forefront of our mind.

Students in remote classrooms often have high turn over of staff, staff of different abilities and competencies, staff with different motivations. Some students in remote classrooms are already at a disadvantage. We need to make sure that their education is our first priority- and we can while upskilling and improving our practice- which in turn can enhance our careers.

We all know the ‘ladder climbers’ the people who are just in a role to get to a higher career position and don’t mind stepping on anyone to get there. The ones that might do the bare minimum in the classroom and focus all their attention on getting out of the classroom as quickly as they can.

Don’t be one of those people. We work with some of the most high needs students in the country that face high teacher turnover, varying levels of competency- we want to make sure we put our clients first.

Find ways to pursue your career that align with your core work. For example, do professional development that will enhance your career AND improve the outcomes of your students.

Check out The Remote Teacher Map to see other posts, freebies and podcast episodes just for you!

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Hi, we are Hakea Hustler and Carl Merrison

We help new remote teachers feel confident and successful  so that they can make the most of their time remote and live a life of adventure.

Learn more about us and how we can help you here.

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